2015. I don't have words to describe this year, or rather I do, but I'll spare you because they are mostly curse words.
On January 1, 2015, I wrote the following in my journal: "The word that comes to my mind for this year  is loss. Loss of Bruce [my oldest friend's father who passed away in December of 2014]. Loss of my dignity. Loss (sometimes) of the confidence I had that my friends and family would be there in my hours of deepest need. Loss of hope. Loss of faith in medical science. Loss of a dream and of subsequent dreams, the idea that I could ever be a mother of more than one child, of the idea that giving up my career was the most logical thing to do. Loss of unity with my husband. Loss of control over my body and emotions. Loss of the ideal that if I tried hard enough, my dreams would come true."
When I read those words, I just want to go back to my January 2015 self and give her a hug, and say, "Oh honey, the losses will just keep on coming." The hits have been one after the other this year. I lost a dear friend in February, leaving a wound in my soul that continues to ache. We had a massive family illness in the winter, which led to a terrible misunderstanding with my father. We made up and are on good terms again, but words were said that cannot be unsaid, and it still smarts. School was hard, several friends lost their parents, friendships were tested and found wanting. Close family members came to the brink of divorce, reconciled, and I've only just learned today that they are splitting up for sure. We are still infertile, and I have lost hope that we will ever be parents. My heart hurts. It has kept hurting, this whole long year. Then as I tried to embrace the holidays and find the joy in it all, I found a dead raccoon in my yard and spent Christmas Eve shoveling it into a garbage bag to haul to the curb. It seemed somehow symbolic of the year that was. Needless to say, 2015 has been nothing like I expected.
Were there joys? Of course. I met new friends. I did well in school. I attended a close friend's wedding. There was a new Star Wars movie. We adopted Neville. We laughed and loved and lived. But it still hurts.
So, now it's almost 2016, and I am afraid. I went into the last two years thinking that things would get better, and instead they just got worse and worse and worse. To be brutally honest, I am sad every day, and I know that even the best circumstances and a fantastic career will not heal the child-shaped hole in me, but at least I would like a reprieve from really awful stuff happening. I go into this new year with trepidation, wondering "How long, o Lord?", wondering if I will make it to see 2017 without losing myself, the loving and wondering and rejoicing parts that I know are still in there somewhere.
However, after getting even more bad family news today, I decided to give myself a pass from getting anything useful accomplished, and just sit in bed this afternoon watching the original Star Wars. I realized, thinking it over, that Episode 4 is titled "A New Hope". So maybe it's there, somewhere, that hope. Maybe I can find it and grasp it, if even for a little while.
Happy New Year, friends. May joy find you wherever you are.